Alex Rios is the owner of a daycare center, Kids Kollege, which cares for 90 children. As a small business owner, he sees his tight-knit staff as family—everyone works closely together and cares for each other—so when one of his staff members said he should fire her, it broke his heart.
Veronica Solis, known to her coworkers as Vero, had joined the daycare two years after Rios opened business, and had now been the staff cook for three years.
“She’s been very loyal to me. When she started working for me, she was diagnosed with cancer,” Rios said. Solis battled cancer for the next two years, but she never missed work or complained, not even if she had a chemotherapy session just before. When the news came that she was cancer free, Solis was joyous, and Rios was so happy for her.
But then months later, Rios noticed Solis was getting to work late, and it had happened more than once. Concerned for her well-being, he gave her a call.
Her response was much more than he expected—she “was crying, hyperventialiting, and almost fainted on me,” Rios said.
Then she said Rios needed to hire someone else; Solis did not have a car, and now she no longer had a ride to get to work every day. Her mother had been driving her previously, and now her mother needed to move out of state.
Rios felt bad for her after the call. “She’s been really good to our business, she’s been really good to our kids here at Kids Kollege Learning Center.”
He didn’t want to fire her or find another employee—he wanted to solve her transportation problem.
“So I decided to buy her a car,” Rios said.
The gesture was enormous, but at first, Rios wasn’t even planning on making it public. But then he thought that perhaps his act of paying it forward would inspire others to do so and create more good in the world. Not everyone has the means to just buy someone they care about a new car, but Rios realized he was in the position to do so, and felt in his heart it was the right thing to do.
“I was a little hesitant about video-taping this, but I hope that someone out there sees this video, if you are blessed in your life, you could do something similar to what I’m doing, simply paying it forward,” he said.
“Why I’m doing this is because I’ve been blessed in my life. I have the privilege of owning my own business,” he said. “This is just one way of paying it forward, and I hope this touches your life—maybe somewhere, some time, you can pay it forward yourself.”
Rios didn’t tell her this idea right away—instead, he told her that they were making a commercial for the daycare and so cameras would be around.
Solis and Rios took the cameras on a little tour of the daycare, but then Rios told her he actually had a surprise for her.
Confused, Solis followed her boss outside, and then he pointed at the green car. “I got you a car!” he said simply.
She was stunned into silence, but wrapped him up in a big hug. Then came the tears together with her disbelief—“No!” she cried. “I love you guys—thank you!”
“Why’d you do that?!” she asked.
“We love you, that’s why.”
“You told me to hire someone else because they would be here on time, I don’t want to hire anybody else—I want you,” he said.